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Yes, it has to be 12" minimum and now for the water flex lines and now if the relief valve is on top of the water heater it has to be metal over the top. Also required:
Pan no matter where its located
Sediment trap on Gas
Dual wall vent all the way, if located in an unconditioned space
Cannot reuse gas flex
Union on Relief valve
And, if the inspector can see light where the vent goes through the flashing, you will have to caulk it in. (Two story STEEEEEEEP Roofs)
UNLESS YOUR A HANDY MAN OR UNLICENSED, THEN DO WHATEVER THE HELL YOU WANT. I AM TIRED OF IT.
"don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been"
It's not that. It's just that, well, frankly it don't matter, bro.
95% of ours are elec. and there are no requirements.
There are, however, more than a few other code requirements
that are routinely ignored.
Don't even get me started...
Water flex's are very rare around here, they just don't work. Our water temps fluctuate so much it destroys the rubber washers. In the winter the water is so cold they shrink and then leak. Propress is different in the way they're installed as that it doesn't use a rubber washer or oring. It's a different material vs rubber. ALL of my water heater installs gas or electric are ProPress hard piped. 3/4" Propress female adapters right from the water heater. Propress ball valves and fittings. It's been a few years now and no leaks, no problems with inspections.
We're in Earth Quake Country. Our Gas W.H. are in the garage. I install 50 Brad. White, No Nox. New, full port water valve,to get rid of old Gate valve. 2 heavy straps. copper flex feeds , Change out old chimney from 3" to 4". 24" pan . WHY 18" stand with no nox, You say ? This gives Me fall to dump Pan PVC and copper T+P through siding . Most folks have
something on the garage floor that would get damaged if a tank rusted out. Not all generals are Hacks, just most!
I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .
I miss slamming water heaters in garages. Ahhh the good old days back in Marin and S.F.. Now they're all in basements for me here. Way back when I was young and would throw one on my back and carry it in the garage, have it done in less than an hour. A couple sheet rock screws for the new EQ straps etc. who would ever find out right???? LOL, yup we had no idea back then.
Water heater installed with the new eq straps, $299.99 total job. Funny to think back on those days.
Then the 89 quake hit, things changed after that. Things got a bit more serious.